New EU rules could cost one of Malta’s oldest international trucking companies between €500,000 and €1 million to implement, resulting in higher costs for the consumer.

The reform will force transport companies to bring their vehicles back home every two months and give drivers around two days of accommodation every month, Attrans sales and development manager Kevin Filletti explained.

The new rules are not good news for local business. According to Mr Filletti, they will raise operating costs by up to €1 million which would inevitably be transferred to the consumer.

“It will mean we have to invest in more haulage vehicles to make up for those that have to return to Malta. This reform does not make sense for Malta,” he said.

The comments came after Reuters News Agency reported that Malta and eight other European member states, including Cyprus and Bulgaria, were discussing legal action to change the rules.

It will mean we have to invest in more haulage vehicles to make up for those that have to return to Malta

The European Parliament had voted in favour of amendments to EU rules on where truck drivers are posted, their rest periods and for trucks to return home to the operator country.

Under the amendments, trucking companies will need to provide a paid rest period of around 45 hours every three to four consecutive weeks, at “the employer’s establishment or to the drivers’ place of residence”.

Trucks would also have to return to the company’s headquarters every eight weeks, in a move designed to prevent haulage companies from trying to register in other EU countries to take advantage of lower taxes.

Mr Filletti argued that these reforms would likely force the company to increase its 50-strong truck fleet by between 15 and 20 per cent and accommodate potential two-day hotel stays costing a minimum €40 per night.

He also stressed that the reforms do not consider the need for infrastructure like large scale parking facilities for the trucks to be stationary and secured when not in operation.

“Every EU country in mainland Europe will have to invest in parking infrastructure. Right now, there is no infrastructure to host the tractor units,” he said.

“If the EU is going to impose this on operators there must be infrastructure in place. It is going to take years to do.

“The EU is not taking these issues affecting Malta seriously. Every member state has different circumstances and challenges,” he added.

Attrans has been operating since 1976 and provides haulage solutions from Malta to European mainland countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as in Scandinavia and North Africa. The company transports between 60 and 80 trailers of cargo every week.

Everything, from clothes to second-hand cars, are transported to the country through Attrans.

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